March 25, 2015


Congress considers privatizing the air traffic control system. Frustrated by the FAA’s bureaucratic inertia, there is bipartisan sentiment in Congress to spin off the agency’s biggest single workforce — the almost 15,000 people who control the nation’s air traffic — into a separate corporation. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) presented a bill to the House aviation subcommittee Tuesday that would create a private corporation to govern air travel. Washington Post

Grover Norquist sees bipartisan doc fix deal as ‘model of success’. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have worked out a deal, a permanent “doc fix” that would repeal automatic cuts in Medicare payments to physicians. Their bipartisan solution, if enacted, will plunge a stake into the heart of traditional Medicare, according to health policy expert Don McCanne, M.D., of Physicians for a National Health Program. Physicians for a National Health Program

When Will “Progressives” Defend Public Education?. . . There is no mention of K12 education. No mention of the issues confronting public schools, the attempts to privatize, voucherize and charterize our schools. No mention of school closures in African American and Latino neighborhoods. No mention of assaults on teacher unions and due process rights. No mention of the test obsession destroying the quality of education in our schools, leading students to walk out by the thousands.

Opinion: National experiment in school choice, market solutions produces inequity. After a series of policies implemented from the 1980s onward, Chilean governments have managed to develop one of the most deregulated, market-oriented educational schemes in the world. Inspired by the ideas of such neoliberal economists as Hayek and Friedman, the “Chilean experiment” was meant to prove that education can achieve its highest quality when its administration is handed over mainly to the private sector and, therefore, to the forces of the market…. Chile is now a far more unequal society than it was before the privatization of education – and there is a clear correlation between family income and student achievement according to standardized testing and similar measures. Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Space Privatization, Tourism And Morals. . . “We don’t know who the Googles and the Amazons are going to be. It might be SpaceX and Virgin Galactic,” Impey said about the private groups who will be involved in the next stage in space travel. “I do believe that what happens next [with space travel] will dwarf what’s happened before.” But progress will not come without cost. Impey reminded the audience that these continued forays into space will likely include accidents like those that occurred in October 2014: the Orbital rocket explosion and the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash, which killed one pilot and injured another. “People died in the first decade of the civil aviation program,” said Impey. “There are going to be ups and downs.” Inside Science News Service

NJ: New Jersey privatizes its water in the worst way possible. The Water Infrastructure Protection Act (WIPA), approved on February 5th, allows municipalities to sell their water facilities to private companies without public referendum. As part of Christie’s privatization task force agenda, WIPA aims to balance Jersey’s current budget crisis, while also fixing the state’s water facilities that ail from “emergent conditions,” or what the bill calls “serious risks to the integrity of drinking water and the environment.” The Protection Act has alarmed New Jersey communities and watchdog groups, however, who claim, as activist Jim Walsh has said, the bill allows “multinational corporations to profit off increased water rates with virtually no recourse for New Jersey residents.’’ AMERICAblog (blog)

DC: Follow The Money: The Murky Ethics In A DC Prison Contract. The clock is ticking on a controversial proposal to turn over the health care for the thousands of inmates at Washington, D.C.’s two jails to the for-profit corporation Corizon, and the company is using a political insider to push for approval of the contract. Though not officially listed on Corizon’s lobbyist disclosure forms, DC Council members confirmed to ThinkProgress that businessman Max Brown has been calling, texting and visiting them, urging them to vote for a plan to get rid of the local non-profit that has served the DC jail since 2006. Brown did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. Brown is widely known as one of new DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s biggest fundraisers and closest confidantes. ThinkProgress

NC: Senate Republicans want North Carolina’s state ferries to go private. A trio of Senate Republican leaders on transportation issues proposed in legislation filed Tuesday that North Carolina’s state-run ferries should be privately owned and operated. “The General Assembly finds that the privatization of the North Carolina Ferry System would provide a more cost‑effective service model for the citizens of the State,” declares the bill filed by Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport Republican who co-chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, and the committee’s two vice chairs, Sens. Kathy Harrington of Gastonia and Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville. News & Observer (blog)

OH: Ohio State U. Launching Another Privatization. The Ohio State University wants a private firm to take over its energy system for 50 years in exchange for an upfront cash payment. Bond Buyer ($)